Behind the Scenes: Viva Mexico!

By Julian Dujarric 11.29.2012 blog

Someone should slap me, because I suspect a pinch just wont suffice. I just got back from Mexico, and I’ve never been so happy to be on American soil! When I found out I was traveling internationally for a couple of stories I was beyond excited and couldn’t wait to dust off the old passport, but I ended up having to continually remind myself of that feeling throughout the course of the week because Murphy’s Law was in full effect.

From almost cancelling a day of filming due to permit issues, to our rental car stalling out in the middle of street multiple times en route to a very important shoot, this is a trip I will never forget.

How can I? Did I mention our run-in with a corrupt Mexico City police officer? No? Well, that happened. He tried to swindle us out of $2,000 pesos (about $200 U.S. dollars). Lucky for us I’m fluent in Spanish and was able to charm our way out of having to pay the man anything — nothing a couple of fake numbers and an empty promise to show him around the U.S. can?t fix. With each new obstacle came a new appreciation for home. At one point I was beginning to get used to the “uh oh” feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when something goes wrong.

We managed to work through everything, and came back with some really compelling footage. The two stories we were working on were actually really fun to shoot. The first story is about the December 21st 2012 Mayan prophecy. As you might have heard, the end of the Mayan calendar falls on that day and many people believe it marks the end of the world.

We also spoke to people at the Chichen Itza ruins, which is one of the largest Mayan cities still standing. Did you know there’s an ancient temple at that site considered to be one of the new seven wonders of the world? If you take a look at the pictures below you can see just how impressive it really is. We also spoke to Tomas Suarez, who’s an archeologist from Mexico City, and an expert in all things Mayan. Seriously, this man knows his stuff. As for our take on the prophecy, you’ll have to watch the story on the show in a couple of weeks.

The second story is about a theme park in a small town about two hours away from Mexico City in the State of Hidalgo called El Alberto. The park has an interesting tourist attraction called “La Caminata Nocturana” or The Night Hike. It’s a three-hour illegal border crossing simulation that started in 2004 after El Alberto’s population dwindled due to its residents migrating to the United States. Every Saturday night, many of the several hundred remaining villagers work as costumed performers.

Some of them play border patrol agents, migrants, and even coyotes and polleros, Mexican guides who help migrants cross the border into the U.S. for a fee. It’s a small taste of what Mexicans have to go through when attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Throughout the course of the hike, I had to keep reminding myself that it was only a simulation, because IT FELT SO REAL! It was quite an experience and one I will never forget.

You can see pics from our trip in the slideshow below, and you should be seeing the Mayan story on the air very soon. The Mexican border story should be on the show early in the New Year — assuming the world doesn’t end this month!

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